Army veteran Kelsi Sheren was a fresh-faced 19-year-old when she first stepped onto the battlefield in Afghanistan. It turned out to be a life-changing experience for her.
Six months later, the Canadian gunner was “still shaking” in a military helicopter heading home after witnessing one of her comrades blown up after he detonated an IED in the field as her battalion moved from one compound to another. .
‘That was my first exposure to watching someone die. And that was my first exposure to having to clean up what was left of someone,” Sheren told DailyMail.com.
The experience, he says, “broke part of my brain.” It took witnessing that horrible death “for the reality of what we were doing to hit.” She was haunted by the memory of wiping the remains of her comrade from her hands, while she dodged heavy fire.
Once home, he turned to therapy and realized that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Sheren made it a point to help other veterans and has been outspoken in criticizing the Canadian government’s lax attitude towards euthanasia, including their push to make it available to veterans affected by PTSD.
“It is disgusting and unacceptable,” he said, arguing that the authorities would rather euthanize a soldier than foot the bill for their recovery.
Kelsi Sheren (pictured) was just 19 years old when she enlisted in the Canadian Army. What she witnessed of her left her with PTSD
Canada has the most permissive assisted suicide program in the world. The country is on track to record some 13,500 state-sanctioned suicides in 2022, an increase of 34 percent from 10,064 in 2021, according to analysis of official data by the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition of Canada.
Politicians in Canada are currently weighing whether to expand access to include children and the mentally ill.
Critics have argued that the approach is a “slippery slope” in a country where red tape makes it easier to access physician-assisted suicide than it is to access benefits and help.
Sheren is enraged by the ‘unacceptable’ and ‘infuriating’ law. She says she personally knows nearly a dozen veterans who have been offered euthanasia by authorities, a “disgusting” approach for “people who were willing to risk their lives… so you have the audacity to tell them it’s better if they just go dead’.
Sheren, pictured with a soldier in Afghanistan, said she enjoyed being so young in the army because she “loved being the underdog” but a horrific incident in which she saw a British soldier blown to bits by an IED changed the course of her life. his life. and in the years since she has made it her mission to help other veterans
As one of the only women in a world dominated by men, Sheren said she was sent on “cultural support” missions in Afghanistan.
Sheren, whose experience is detailed in her new book, ‘Brass and Unity,’ published by Knox Press on July 11, has made it her mission to help other veterans.
Her ordeal began as an aimless 19-year-old in 2009, when she enlisted in the military to find purpose in her life. However, she immediately knew that her experience would be daunting in the male-dominated military.
“I knew there was going to be a time when I would have to present myself in a different way than most people would,” he said. “But it was exciting for me.”
As a top-level Taekwondo fighter before her military days, Sheren said she “loved a challenge” and relished the opportunity to “be the underdog.”
But while on a mission with the British Army in Afghanistan in 2009, which she only joined because the team needed a female “cultural support” officer, her life would be forever changed.
The battalion moved from compound to compound under heavy fire, with Sheren acting as gunner to hold off the enemy.
As the crew approached a dirt road, a British soldier got ahead of the herd and swept the area with a metal detector before the others passed.
As it brushed against a pile of logs, a concealed IED exploded.
“We were fighting an enemy who wanted every one of us dead… by any means necessary,” Sheren recalled.
Sheren (right) said that one of her first symptoms of PTSD was a loss of her empathy and patience.
Immediately after the explosion, Sheren knew something was wrong. He felt panic and confusion, and screamed uncontrollably as he struggled to wash the fallen soldier’s blood from his hands.
From then on, he admitted, “the rest of the operation was very different.”
As the team moved on to the next village, Sheren said it became clear to her that her thinking had changed negatively, not realizing that these were early symptoms of PTSD.
“I knew very well that the way I felt and acted towards Afghans now was disproportionately angry and violent,” he continued. “My compassion, care, empathy, patience, it was all gone.”
Sheren’s ordeal is detailed in his new book ‘Brass and Unity’, due out on July 11.
Returning home to Vancouver from Afghanistan, Sheren was met with a tidal wave of emotions, unsure how to deal with her new reality under the shadow of post-traumatic stress disorder.
She said that she just ‘couldn’t really feel anything’, and when she checked in with herself, she went blank. ‘I was not happy. I wasn’t sad I wasn’t tired. She was angry,’ she said.
Sheren said she was first offered a fleet of pharmaceuticals designed to calm her down or put her to sleep, but the drugs threw her off balance and she quickly knew they weren’t for her.
Instead, he set out to try various therapy techniques with varying success.
In particular, she stated that experimenting with psychedelic drugs was particularly helpful, as it helped her break through her mental barriers and understand her illness.
Her main outlet, however, turned out to be art therapy, with the objective nature of the trade allowing her to ‘shut my brain off’ and focus on what was right in front of her.
After making bracelets out of bullet casings, Kelsi decided to start a business, which grew rapidly and was endorsed by celebrity clients.
She now counts many notables among her fans, including Ellen DeGeneres, Beth Behrs, and Kevin Hart, the latter to whom she credits her success after a chance meeting.
Hart advised her to change the name of her business to ‘Wearables’ to appeal to male clientele. She came up with ‘Brass and Unity’, and the name has since spawned a growing following, a podcast, and now the book of it.
Sheren (right) is pictured with actress Beth Behrs (left) showing off her bullet casing bracelets
Sheren attributes her commercial success to comedian Kevin Hart after a chance meeting
After overcoming her own mental health battle to build a new life, Sheren has focused on helping others.
His current fight is at home in Canada, against permissive euthanasia laws. The practice has been legal since 2016 and has aggressively expanded to more than 10,000 ‘assisted suicides’ by 2021.
But Sheren said he personally knows nearly a dozen ex-servicemen who have been offered euthanasia by authorities, calling it “disgusting.”
“When you take people who were willing to risk their lives for you, for your safety, then you have the audacity to tell them it’s better if you die…it’s one of the most disgusting things,” he said. saying.
“It’s unacceptable, and it’s one of the most galling things to happen to the Canadian administration in the last decade.”
Canada is on track to record some 13,500 physician-assisted suicides by 2022
Other critics of euthanasia are sounding the alarm about Australia and the Netherlands, as well as Canada, where assisted suicides are becoming more accessible.
The warning comes on the heels of revelations that the Netherlands is euthanizing healthy people with autism, and as Australian authorities debate whether to allow children as young as 14 to end their lives in the nation’s capital.
Matt Vallière, director of the Patients’ Rights Action Fund, a campaign group, said most Western governments that allow assisted suicide send the message that “people with certain disabilities are better off dead.”
“Each expansion of assisted suicide and euthanasia simply adds additional subsets of people with disabilities to the pool of those who qualify or makes it easier, faster or cheaper to obtain them,” Vallière told DailyMail.com.
People who need support are sent to a “utilitarian funnel of death”, he added.
Euthanasia is legal in seven countries: Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Spain, as well as several states in Australia.
Euthanasia, a lethal injection administered by a doctor, is legal in seven countries: Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Spain, as well as several states in Australia.
Other jurisdictions, including a growing number of US states, allow physician-assisted suicide, where patients take the drug themselves, usually by crushing and drinking a lethal dose of pills prescribed by a doctor.
The number of people who opt for assisted suicide has steadily increased in countries where it is allowed.
The Netherlands in 2002 became the first country in the world to allow doctors to kill patients, at their request, if strict conditions were met.
Almost 60,000 opted for the procedure between 2012 and 2021, official figures show.